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The bid to buy the Ottawa Senators has garnered the attention of a few A-list celebrities, including The Weeknd, Snoop Dogg and Ryan Reynolds.Illustration by The Globe and Mail; image source: wire services

Update: Michael Andlauer-led group reaches deal to buy Ottawa Senators

A group led by Toronto-based businessman Michael Andlauer has reached an agreement in principle to purchase the NHL’s Ottawa Senators for close to US$1-billion, according to media reports. Andlauer is the sole owner of the Ontario Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs and a minority owner of the Montreal Canadiens.

The Ottawa Senators are on the market after the death of owner Eugene Melnyk in March, 2022. Mr. Melnyk’s two daughters formally put the NHL team up for sale in early November, and stipulated the next owner must keep the team in Ottawa.

A growing list of contenders have since entered the fray, ahead of the May 15 deadline for final bids. Canadian billionaires such as Michael Andlauer, Steve Apostolopoulos and Roger Greenberg have all shown interest in the Senators. The bid has also garnered the attention of a few A-list celebrities, including Ryan Reynolds, Snoop Dogg and The Weeknd.

Meet the banker that billionaires will have to call to buy the Ottawa Senators

A recent valuation by Forbes listed the Senators at US$800-million, 24th out of the NHL’s 32 teams. The team could fetch more than US$900-million – which was the highest price paid for an NHL team, when LeBron James’ Fenway Sports Group bought the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2021 – with the new owner expected to attempt to increase the club’s revenues by moving from the suburbs to a new, downtown arena.

Here’s a list of everyone who’s interested in buying the Ottawa Senators so far.

Michael Andlauer, founder & CEO of logistics firm ATS Healthcare

Transport billionaire Michael Andlauer was the early favourite to be the next owner of the Senators because of his proven relationship with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and team owners as a minority partner in the Montreal Canadiens, The Globe and Mail’s Andrew Willis reported in November. He is also the sole owner of the Ontario Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs.

The 57-year-old is the founder and chief executive officer of Andlauer Healthcare Group, which owns health-care supply chain companies, and the founder of Toronto-based merchant bank Bulldog Capital Partners.

Ryan Reynolds and Vaughan-based Remington Group

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Actor Ryan Reynolds waves as he is recognized during a break in the play at an Ottawa Senators game on Nov. 8, 2022.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Ryan Reynolds is among the list of bidders interested in buying the Senators. The Canadian actor, who co-owns Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC, has been attached to a potential bid from real-estate developers Remington Group to purchase the team.

Mr. Reynolds, who spent part of his childhood in Ottawa, said last November in a Tonight Show interview with Jimmy Fallon that he wants to be the face of a consortium that buys the team – “a fancy way of saying I need a sugar mommy or a sugar daddy.”

Opinion: Ottawa Senators, the Green Lantern of pro sports teams

The Remington Group has reportedly prepared a bid of more than US$1-billion to purchase the Senators and Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre.

Update: As of May 11, Mr. Reynolds and the Remington Group are not moving forward with their bid, due to the league’s refusal to give an exclusive negotiating window.

Snoop Dogg, Russell Peters and Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Neko Sparks

On May 2, rap legend and business mogul Snoop Dogg announced on his Instagram account that he’s interested in owning the Senators. It would be part of a bid led by Los Angeles-based producer Neko Sparks.

During an interview with ESPN’s First Take, Snoop Dogg said he wanted to use the ownership title as a way to start a new youth hockey league.

“I’ve been watching hockey for about 25 years now, and I watch more and more kids that look like me play the game, but I’m not seeing it being offered to the kids over here in America,” he said.

On May 20, Canadian comedian Russell Peters shared on his Instagram account that he was joining Snoop Dogg and Neko Sparks in their bid.

If Russell Peters is bidding for the Senators, we should all have a go

The Weeknd and Toronto billionaires Jeffrey and Michael Kimel

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The Weeknd performs at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival on April 21.Amy Harris/The Associated Press

The Weeknd is looking to join Toronto billionaires Jeffrey and Michael Kimel of the Harlo Capital Group to purchase the NHL team, according to a report from the Ottawa Sun. The Canadian singer, who was born in Toronto, is reportedly joining the bid because his managers grew up in the country’s capital and “he wants to build something that will be great in Ottawa.”

“The team he works with grew up in Ottawa, so they know the market really well, but he’s the largest musician on the planet right now. He has the most views, the most streams and he’s a hockey guy,” a source close to The Weeknd told The Ottawa Sun.

The Kimel family is already known in many NHL circles, as they were part owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins until they sold it to Fenway Sports Group in 2021.

Steve Apostolopoulos, co-owner of Triple Properties

Canadian billionaire Steve Apostolopoulos has reportedly joined the bidding process alongside Rocco Tulli, a Windsor-based land developer and owner of the Oshawa Generals in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Mr. Apostolopoulos is also one of two formal bidders offering more than US$6-billion for the National Football League’s Washington Commanders.

Graeme Roustan and Ontario First Nations Sovereign Wealth LP

Graeme Roustan, owner and publisher of The Hockey News, is partnering with Ontario First Nations Sovereign Wealth LP, which represents 129 First Nation communities in Ontario, to buy the Senators. According to TSN, the group is interested in buying the NHL team because of its plans to develop the land around LeBreton Flats in downtown Ottawa and build a new arena.

Roger Greenberg, executive chair of Minto Group

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A general view of the Canadian Tire Centre during the first period of the NHL game between the Dallas Stars and Ottawa Senators on October 24, 2022.Chris Tanouye/Getty Images

In the past, Ottawa-based real estate developer Roger Greenberg – chair of Minto Group – and Power Corp. deputy chair André Desmarais have shown an interest in owning the Senators or partnering with the team.

The Greenberg family were involved with the original Ottawa Senators when the team first came to the city in 1992. In addition, Mr. Greenberg is the executive chair of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, which owns and operates the Redblacks football team and the OHL’s 67s.

With reports from The Canadian Press and Reuters

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